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Da Qing Shan Arbor Sheng (un-fermented) Pu-erh

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Sheng (un-fermented) Pu-erh

 

Da Qing Shan Arbor Sheng Pu-erh

 

Appearance: long, sturdy, dark and light grey leaves accentuated with whitish/grey tips
Flavor: 
sweet, woodsy, forest-floor taste
Aroma: mild and sweet
Liquor: pinkish/tan color in the cup

 

Da Qing Shan Mengku Tea Harvesting Area
Shuangjiang County, Lincang Prefecture
Yunnan Province, China

2015 Spring Pluck

Note on Steeping Pu-erh:

 

Mao cha is traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped. This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately discarded. The rinse water is not drunk – its purpose is to help the leaves begin to open during steeping. Use  additional, appropriately-heated water for the 1st steeping and subsequent re-steepings.

 

Western-style steeping in a medium-large sized teapot:

 

Not recommended

 

Asian-style steeping in a small teapot under 10 oz or in a gaiwan:

 

Use 1.5 Tablespoons (3 grams) of tea per 6 oz water
Use water that is 185°-195°F
Rinse the tea in your teapot with a quick application of hot water
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 30 seconds
Add additional hot water and steep 2nd infusion for 40 seconds
Increase the steeping time an additional 5-10 seconds with each infusion
Expect to re-steep this leaf  3-4 times

 

For best enjoyment, this tea should be steeped short or Asian-style. We recommend the following:

one 30 second 1st infusion
one 30 second 2nd infusion
add 5/10 seconds to each additional infusion

 

Coming soon!

Unlike most other tea, Pu-erh is made from mao cha and not directly from fresh leaf.

 

So what is mao cha? Mao cha is a simple ‘rough’ manufacture of leaf materials that consists of:

 

plucking
withering (indoors and or outdoors)
firing
rolling & shaping
sun-drying

 

Mao cha is considered both finished tea and half-made tea. It is essentially young sheng Pu-erh and is drunk by villagers in Yunnan as well as being the leaf that all forms of Pu-erh are made from. Mao cha is simple to manufacture but is complex in its diversity.

 

Mao cha can be made from the fresh leaf of one tea garden or be a blend of leaf from an entire tea village or from several tea producing villages within one county.  Mao cha can be stored and aged after it is made, or it can be a new blend that is comprised of aged mao cha from different years. It is found in a variety of leaf sizes, too, depending on the location of the tea trees and on the type of local cultivars (size of the leaf)  the mao cha was made from. Mao cha is a great example of the effects of terroir.

 

As you can see, the possibilities and resulting flavors of mao cha are almost endless. All of these variables  result in a staggering choice of mao cha for Pu-erh producers to work with.

 

This tea is a nice, light sheng Pu-erh that is a great introduction to this category of tea.

We have recently purchased an assortment of loose-leaf sheng Pu-er from various production areas because we think that these teas should become more well-known and be more available. Sheng Pu-erh offers the opportunity to really taste the essence of the tea trees and the place (terroir) without processing technique getting in the way and adding to the taste of the leaf.

If you are a fan of Chinese white tea, light oolongs such as Bai Hao, or soft and creamy Yunnan black teas, sheng Pu-erh would be a great tasting light tasting tea addition to your repertoire of tastes.

Sheng Pu-erh has many tastes derived from the location of the tea forest (terroir), the age of the tea trees, etc. Essentially loose-leaf sheng Pu-erh has a sweet, woodsy; forest-clean flavor and mild aroma. It is perfectly lovely to drink this tea now or you can put some aside to age and strengthen over time.

Da Qing Shan is located in the Mengku tea harvesting area. This place produces tea from genetically unique varieties of old tea trees that have been growing here for the past 300 years, some of which are cultivars unique to this area and some of which are descended from Camellia assamica.

This area is not as well known as other Pu-erh producing areas, and the area is small, so their production falls under the radar of large tea buyers. But the unadulterated tea trees (no pesticides or fertilizers) are kept in prime condition by villagers, and the slow growth of the tea trees results in mineral-rich leaf which yields tea with a deep aftertaste. This tea is known locally as da shu (big tree tea.)

This tea has a have a light aroma, a simple, woodsy aroma and a nice, light pale-pink blush color in the cup. But over steeping can turn this tea pithy and bitter.

Note:
Sheng Pu-erh is also known as ‘un-cooked’ or ‘raw’ Pu-erh. It is the un-fermented version of Pu-erh.

Sheng Pu-erh is un-fermented tea when it is young but microbial activity on the leaf will allow the tea to slowly ferment over time when the tea is kept under good storage conditions. Sheng Pu-erh can be drunk now or stored for years to allow this slow microbial transformation of the tea to turn the tea into something rich and full. Similar to young wines that will, over time, transform into much more substantial wines, sheng Pu-erh is prized by collectors and tea enthusiasts for this ability to age and improve over time.